Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vegetable Stock

I noticed the other day that the celery I bought the other day was getting a little limp and wimpy. I still had a carrot left over from the chicken noodle soup, so making veggie stock seemed the best solution. Bolstered by my success with chicken soup, I figured stock couldn’t be too hard. Plus, it’s getting to be winter and that means soup time! Stock is where soups get their start and though it’s easy enough to buy it at the store, I’m getting into this whole cooking at home thing (go blog!) and decided to just go for it. Plus, how hard is it to throw a bunch of veggies into a pot with water and herbs and let it simmer for an hour? Not. This is so easy.

Basic theory behind this one came from Joy of Cooking:

Mine made 9¾ cups

8 slightly crushed cloves of garlic
½ cup sautéed onions
½ yellow onion with peel, cut in half
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into three
1 carrot, peeled and cut into three
3 stalks of celery with leaves, cut into fours
1 cup shredded lettuce
Handful of parsley
½ Tb. oregano
½ Tb. marjoram
¼ c. pepper corns
½ Tb. thyme
Pinch of kosher salt
Dash of freshly ground pepper

I think parsnips look hilarious. They make me think of the witch scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which is why I'm doing this. See it if you haven't (and who hasn't?). It's hilarious.

Start by sautéing the onion in olive oil. Meanwhile, peel parsnip and carrot. Cut the remaining veggies. Prep the garlic. After the onions are soft and slightly brown, throw into a large stockpot. Throw in all the veggies, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and peppercorns.

Add enough water to cover all this. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for about 1½ hours or until the vegetables are very tender.

Strain and chill. I used a potato masher to get all the goodness out of mine. Skim fat if necessary (it probably won’t have any). I’m freezing all of mine, but you can stick in the fridge for use during the week.

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